News Day

Ride2Work Day

TSHERING PALDEN

October 17, 2012 NEWS DAY

Hundreds of cyclists poured on to Perth’s streets this morning to observe Ride2Work Day.

Their purpose was to raise the profile of cycling and encourage others to ride to work.

Perth cyclists. Photo: Tshering Palden.

But cyclists say a lot needs to be done before cycling can really be safe in Perth.

Bicycle Transport Alliance executive officer Heinrich Benz said safety was the main concern which kept people away from taking up cycling as a means of transport.

“Infrastructure is not enough,” Mr Benz said.

“I have to ride on roads with cars and it is unpleasant.”

Half a million people in Perth ride a bicycle each week but mostly for fun according to the National Cycling Participation Survey 2011.

WA has the highest proportion of recreational riders in the nation.

Mr Benz said the number of people actually riding to work was minimal.

“Given the suitable weather and flat land, we can be the best bicycling city in the world, if we want,” he said.

“Such events [as Ride2Work Day] are important but not as important as developing the infrastructure.”

Mr Benz called for more funding to improve the bicycle network in the city.

“The government should invest more to develop cycling infrastructure in the city,” he said.

Mr Benz proposed improving cycling networks, legalising a passing distance between cars and bikes on the road, and reducing the speed limit on shared roads for cyclists to be safe.

Cycling WA Chief Executive Officer Garry Chandler, one of the organisers of Ride2Work Day, also acknowledged safety was a concern.

He said things would change with the recent endorsement of the City of Perth Cycle Plan 2029.

“The new plan would improve things a lot for cyclists,” Mr Chandler said.

He said the response to Ride2Work Day demonstrated that more people were switching to riding bikes, also evident from the increase in bike sales.

Ride2Work is in its third year and is organised by Bicycling WA.

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